Cultural Experience | Resources

Why I won’t let terrorism stop me from traveling

Now is the time to be embracing others because of our shared humanity so that we can all works towards a brighter, safer future together.

9/11. Paris. Brussels. Nigeria. Thailand. As millennials, our lifetime has been filled with terror and racked with terrorist attacks. As a person that loves to travel, I’m often asked how I manage my love with any possible fears. People wonder why I don’t simply stay closer to home. My answer is always that something just as bad if not worse can happen to me five minutes away from my house. So, I can and should still make sure I see the world.

If I had insight into the mind of a terrorist, I’d imagine that something they hope comes from their attacks is a decrease in travel. Why? Because traveling opens the mind, expands the worldview and enables people to work and understand across difference. All things which I would imagine stand in contrast to the “mission” or aims of these terror groups. So, I’m not going to stop traveling because if I do, then they win. Terrorism functions to create a world that is based in fear. Fear of different religions that are actually peaceful. Fear of people who speak a different language. Fear of people who do not look like oneself.

Travel teaches that we are more alike than we are different. It is really the one thing in this world that forces you outside of your comfort zone with the end goal of hopefully making you a better, more aware person. In this global day and age, the world needs more people who are aware of the space they take up, able to interact across difference, tolerant of other cultures and understanding of different ways of life. Traveling to the far reaches of the earth or two states away introduces you to concepts, foods, songs, religions, and people that you might not have met otherwise. In our interconnected world, being able to effectively and appropriately deal with people who are different from you is crucial to not only success, but living a full life. Gone are the days of building walls and trying to keep people out. Now is the time to be embracing others because of our shared humanity so that we can all works towards a brighter, safer future together.

The world needs us to travel, no matter who would try and stop us. I was in England during the Paris attack and still hopped on a plane to Barcelona the next week. Fear cannot stop us from experiencing all that the world has for us. If it does, then evil wins and we cannot allow that. So, I am going to keep traveling. I will venture around the corner, to the next town over, to the other side of the country, and to the other side of the world. I hope you will too. And when someone asks you, why you continue to travel in the face of terror, or how you manage your fear, remind them that if we retreat into our caves, they win. Travel creates conditions that are antithetical to hate, making it an essential part of life. It is of course important to remain vigilant and heed the advice of the State department, but we can never stop venturing, and exploring.

I’m going to keep traveling. I’m going to go to Paris, Brussels, New York, and every other place that has been attacked. I’m going to keep going because we must go. Terrorism won’t stop me.

More: Being in Paris During the Attacks: What It Taught Me

Gabrielle Hickmon

Cornell University | 7 stories

Gabrielle Hickmon is a senior at Cornell University who just returned from studying abroad at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @gabgotti. She rants and writes regularly on her blog The Reign XY. But, when she isn't, you can find her laughing with her friends, binge watching way too much Netflix, and planning her next adventure!

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